Once, while Winston Churchill was prime minister in Britain, a young Billy Graham was called into 10 Downing Street to meet him. In rather gruff tones Churchill asked him, “Young man, do you have any hope for the human race?” Graham outlined from the Bible his basis of hope. I will do the same.
A great European theologian said what oxygen is to the lungs, hope is to the human soul. Hopelessness is terrible because people cannot live without hope. A famous writer, A. J. Cronin, said, “When you stop hoping, you are on the vestibule of hell, for there is no hope there.”
Years ago I embraced these words, the ground of our hope is Christ coming into our world, but the evidence of our hope is Christ in the heart! Let me show you how that can be true.
The Bible’s underlying theme is hope, but hope in the Bible means more than what we often mean in modern usage; it means God-given confidence. Someone said it means “unconditional certainty based on God’s promises.”
God is the author of hope, and Christ is the living expression of our hope, and the Bible is the textbook of it.
But first, let us take a step back. As we look at the universe, we see it moving in perfect precision, so I can say something like Albert Einstein said, “I look at the universe, and I know there’s an architect.” It is logical to think — someone beyond ourselves must have arranged all this. That someone is God, and He is full of love. He is a God that by nature communicates to us. He does that through nature, through His word, the Bible, and most plainly through the person of Jesus Christ. God has revealed Himself to us in His one and only Son. His very name means God is with us and God to the rescue!
God proves that by sending Jesus, who came preaching and teaching us. Additionally, He lived in sinlessness, allowed Himself to be crucified, and then overcame death by His resurrection. Afterwards, Jesus said, “I have overcome. You too will overcome,” and that creates hope — hope for a new life now, and hope for eternal life after this life is over. How can we doubt this amazing demonstration by Jesus for all time and for all people? He proves we have real hope; He is our hope.
People protest, “But look at our world, there is so much hopelessness — if there is a loving God, how do you explain such misery?” My answer is that I do not have the full answer to all we see. Life is often a puzzle with some of the pieces missing. I do not have all the answers, and I do not know anyone that does. However, that does not cause us to doubt that there is a God who cares for us. In our world there is a power of evil. Satan is alive and well, and he actively opposes everything that God is doing that is positive. So we must never overlook the reality of evil in human hearts. Long ago someone said every sin is an election of the devil to be our lord! And that explains the reality — humans are capable of unbelievable wickedness and being controlled by evil impulses.
It is possible for evil to be allowed to affect a whole society, and millions can be swept up in it and lose their moral and spiritual mooring; and the results: evil, violence, hate, lust, and unspeakable cruelty run rampant. Tyranny and evil ideologies soon arise. This can happen no matter how educated or cultured we are — human nature must have the touch of God. We need to be transformed. Simply, we need to be new on the inside, new hearts filled with love, peace, and purity. Jesus said we need a “new birth.”
The question then becomes, but how? There is good news and an open secret, which is that God comes through His Spirit to indwell our lives after we respond to Christ. Not only does He offer forgiveness and give us a clean slate, but He gives us a new nature. We become transformed from the inside out. We become new people. This change of a person’s heart is a great miracle. It is a miracle as amazing as any performed by Jesus Christ while He was upon the earth.
It can happen to anyone who surrenders his whole life to the Lord Jesus Christ. I can tell true stories of lives I have seen changed, impossible problems untangled, and lives rebuilt as a result of this miracle in the heart.
I can’t fully explain how a person can be assisted by God’s Spirit to turn in humility to Christ and in simple faith believe and have his or her life invaded by transforming power and God’s love that revolutionizes. It is true,
When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun! (II Corinthians 5:48, Living Bible)
Ask for that to be a reality in your heart and soul. Ask Him to make you into “a brand new person inside.” That is the hope we have from Him — the confidence that no matter how many mistakes we have made, there can be new life in Christ and a new sense of life purpose. That is living hope, and it can be yours.